On this, my first day of vacation in ages, I am up at 4am reading the info on the Soul Food classes. Mystele’s sharing about painting after depression reminded me of my story of how I began painting again 20 years ago.
I wanted to paint, wanted to be an artist as a kid. BUT, I came from a family with a deadbeat dad and a mom who raised four kids by herself. My mom encouraged me to be self-sufficient — which was a good thing — and I had good role models in my Aunt Elsa and Aunt Martha.
But the phrase “starving artist” was not encouraging anyone in my family, and art was a hobby, not a living. Off to college I went to become the next best thing, an architect. This was when architects actually drew with Kooh-i-noor Rapiograph Pens on vellum and bumwad, and the connection between their creativity flowed from their minds through their fingers to the paper they sketched on endlessly. When I graduated I worked in the corporate world, for the studios in lalaland and banks and lawyers and got bored pretty fast. I wanted to quit, but I liked to draw.
Fast forward many years and many stories later, I was writing and living in Oregon, married, and not practicing architecture. And I was pregnant with twins, hoping to have a family. I miscarried. Then a nightmare began whereby I discovered that having children was not going to be possible unless I wanted to lay on my back for many months. Neva-gonna-happen.
A wonderful and most beloved teacher, Brugh Joy, told me that I needed to find something to surrender to; that children brought parents to their knees in surrender, uncontrollable! Brooke Medicine Eagle, a friend, told me to wait and be patient for a new birth. . .
I sank into depression; I guess that is a kind of waiting! This was Depression with a capital D. I could sit for hours not moving, and not noticing that I had sat for hours. I was unable to get it together to do the most mundane of things. And that, too, is a story for another time. But here is the miracle. Just when I was ready to end it all, quietly being the most productive I had been in months planning my get-out-of-dodge move, and coincidentally close to nine months after my miscarriage, I began to make art.
At first my art was safe and linear, pen and pencil, very architectural, and planned ahead of time. It was all so precious. And I was afraid to make a wrong move. But I kept making my safe, linear, planned art, being unsatisfied with its perfection. I went into silence at the new moon. The goddesses came, and I saw them everywhere. I loosened up, not a lot, but any little bit helped. I picked up a palette knife. I painted, and played James Taylor and Springsteen and Beach Boys and Vivaldi. I sang and danced while I painted. And then one day the Madonna I envisioned in the clearcut woods near our home danced off the canvas to dance with me and I knew I had made it, shifted into the person I wanted to be.
My art has continued to evolve, loosen, and layer. Now sharing with the artists through Soul Food will push my boundaries a bit more!
There are more stories here, lots more. . . but now I am going to paint!
My images/blog posts can be reposted as long there is a link back to zenkatwrites.